Northwestern mentors will help junior faculty at three universities in Nigeria develop research skills during a five-year program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The program is part of the NIH’s Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), which recently awarded more than $36 million to 11 institutions in sub-Saharan Africa. The region bears nearly a quarter of the globe’s disease burden, but has just 3 percent of its health workforce and 1 percent of its research output, according to the World Health Organization and the World Bank.
Over the previous five years, faculty from Northwestern University Institute of Public Health and Medicine and the Harvard School of Public Health partnered with universities in Nigeria to modernize their medical school curricula. In the next phase of the program, the teams will focus on expanding the research capacity at the University of Ibadan, University of Jos and the University of Lagos.
“The curricula have been radically updated – they’re much more dynamic, research-focused and relevant,” Dr. Robert Murphy, director of the Center for Global Health-Institute for Public Health and Medicine. “Now we’re going to be providing junior faculty with new skillsets and giving them technical advice so they can conduct research in the areas they think are important.”
Each of the three institutions in Nigeria will prioritize HIV research, but they have also identified other areas of interest, including genomics, bioinformatics, biomedical engineering, reproductive health, community medicine, and chronic diseases with wide prevalence in their country, such as breast and prostate cancers.